Answers to Common Electrophysiology Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about electrophysiology.

What is an electrophysiology study (EPS)?

Premier Health’s Dr. Mark Krebs explains what an electrophysiology study is. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

Typically, when someone has a heart problem, an electrocardiogram (ECG) is the first test to be performed. However, according to the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), ECGs only “provide a brief snapshot of the heart’s electrical activity.” Because many arrhythmias are intermittent and/or random, the electrical activity in the heart needs much more sophisticated monitoring—i.e., an electrophysiology study (EPS).

Electrophysiology studies are tests that allow doctors to monitor and map electrical signals in the heart. By being able to see where electrical impulses begin and where and how they travel throughout the heart muscle, doctors can understand arrhythmias and determine the best treatment to cure it.

As the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medline Plus explains, during an EPS, catheters are inserted into the veins, usually in the groin (sometimes in the neck). Using moving X-rays, doctors thread these catheters to the heart where they place electrodes on various locations on the heart muscle. These electrodes collect data on the electrical activity of the heart and may also be used to send electrical impulses to the heart muscle. These impulses can cause the heart to beat irregularly or stop beating for a brief period of time, helping doctors to understand where an arrhythmia is starting.

During an EPS, doctors may also use the catheters to perform procedures to treat arrhythmias, including catheter ablation or placement of a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

Learn more about how Premier Health electrophysiologists diagnose and treat heart rhythm disorders.

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Source: Kevin Kravitz, MD, Dayton Heart Center; Mark E. Krebs, MD, Miami Valley Cardiologists; Abdul Wase, MD, The Premier Heart Associates

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